Friday, July 19, 2013
Two Gophers players join lawsuit vs. NCAA
By Adam Rittenberg
Minnesota football players Moses Alipate and Victor Keise have had undistinguished careers to date. But they could turn out to be two vitally important figures in the pay-for-play debate.
Alipate, a senior tight end, and Keise, a senior wide receiver, are among six current FBS players to join a federal anti-trust lawsuit against the NCAA, originally filed in 2009 by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon. The O'Bannon plaintiffs claim the NCAA, EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Co., the nation's leading trademark and licensing firm, violated antitrust laws by preventing players from receiving compensation from video games and other products that use their names, likenesses and images. The lawsuit was amended last year to include current players.
From ESPN's Tom Farrey:
By adding their names to a highly contentious lawsuit originally filed in 2009 by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon, the players -- all from college football's largest conferences -- enhance the chances that damages in the suit could reach into the billions of dollars.
Keise has played in 14 career games, recording one catch, while Alipate, a decorated quarterback recruit, has yet to play for the Gophers. They are the only current players in the suit who don't have avatars in the NCAA Football 2014 video game.
In the amended complaint, plaintiffs' attorneys point out Alipate and Keise signed "one or more release forms." So the inclusion of the two Minnesota players may serve to challenge the name and likeness release forms Big Ten athletes are required to sign.
The NCAA this week cut ties with EA Sports, the manufacturer of the yearly "NCAA Football" video game. EA Sports will continue to produce college football video games that feature individual schools, which have their own trademarks.
It will be interesting to see how Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague and others react to Alipate and Keise joining what could be a historic lawsuit.